I have so many other things I should be doing right now, like editing, finishing manuscripts and signing thousands of blank sheets of paper for the hardback of Losing Hope. Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom floor going through my memory chest, because my oldest child is starting junior high and I’m trying to understand how in the hell that happened! It got me to missing high school and yada yada yada, now here I am finding letters and notes from YEARS ago. So long ago, I’m ashamed to admit that I probably didn’t realize until today that I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m not sure how that happened, although I’m quite certain it was sometime around December 11th, 1999.
I thought I’d post a few of the things I found here. They may not interest anyone, but it’s not like I have other things I’m supposed to be doing today. Errr. Regardless.
The first pic is a few letters from my mom when I was fifteen. They are faded and hard to read, so I’ll post what the letters say, since I have nothing but time on my hands.
I went to Austin for a few weeks that summer to stay with my uncle Jack and aunt Jean Ann. During that time, I probably received dozens of letters from my mom and sister. This first letter is from my mother and I thought it was funny that she thought it was odd she was listening to new age music.
Her letter says:
As I write to you, I am listening to Mood Food. So far it’s a lot like star wars. Hey-I just heard R2D2!!
Well, I am sending some things for you to work on in case you’re bored. These could be Christmas presents for just about ANYONE. Or you could cut out little squares (the music kicked in, it sounds a little better) and make Christmas ornaments. (Or not. The music kind of sucks.)
I went and rented that movie, Nell. Lin and I are going to watch it, but I think we will laugh even when it’s serious because we’ll be thinking of that lady. Lin, Tamara and her little sister just left. I really want to watch that movie.
Now that “mood food” sounds like a cross between Reggae and Michael Jackson! My head keeps moving on its own. Vance is watching the world series (I think that’s Baseball) at Monroe’s. YEAH! I sure didn’t want to watch it.
Music changed again. Good house cleaning music! I can’t believe I’m listening to New Age meditation type stuff and LIKING it.
Well, I like to think I’m a woman of variety. Haha.
I sure miss you. I hope your friends are writing you. Lin talked like she had a wonderful time. She sure is already missing you though. We all are.
Hey, Lin’s friend Tamara got a brand new car. She brought it over and me and Lin were looking at it and Lin just sighed and said, “Ahhh, to be middle class!”
But it was funny.
Put your hand on a piece of paper and trace it and mail it to me.
No, do it.
Haha. I love you and miss you.
I miss Lin, too. Where is she? Oh, she just drove up. Now she wants me to go to Mt. Vernon with her cause that guy she likes called and I told him that’s where she is, so now we have to go drive around and look for him. What teenager wants to drive around with her mother and look for the guy she has a crush on??? Your sister, that’s who.
She’s so sweet. Then I found this letter she left on my piano in my bedroom one day.
In case you can’t read her handwriting, it says:
You’ll never know how much I live for the moments when I’m in my herb garden; I feel so peaceful and then I hear classical music drifting around me. My world couldn’t be more perfect than at those times. Especially when you are really concentrating and you love the music. I love life. I can’t bear the thought that someday you’ll be gone and all will be silent.
Isn’t that sweet? I’m hoping she meant gone as in “at college” and not “dead.”
And then we have bigger sister. I didn’t realize how often Lin wrote me and how sweet and sometimes sad the letters were. I have a huge pile of letters from bigger sister after she left for college and it got me to thinking about how we didn’t have cell phones back then, so people actually had to sit and write letters and wait days for them to arrive. It’s insane how instant technology has made relationships and conversations. Families should have no reason not to stay in touch. (I’m one to talk with my 187 unread text messages.) Regardless, my sister freaking loves me. A lot. It never really registered until reading this a decade and a half later.
Her letter says:
Margaret, (She’s the only one allowed to call me that, people.)
So, how is it going? I am O.K. I am sorry I was weird when you called today, I’ve just had a lot on my mind. I have been reading my Cosci book ALL DAY! I have been worrying a lot about school, and about (boyfriend). I’m not homesick, but I miss you. I make myself sick when I think about how much I miss you. I love you so much! Oh Colleen, when I think about what all lies ahead for you! You are getting into the best and worst times of your life. If I could take all of the pain you are ever going to experience and put it inside me I would in a heartbeat. I’m so sorry I’m not with you anymore. Colleen, if you don’t come down Thursday I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t stand not seeing you every day. I’m sorry I am so depressing.
It goes into more detail, but it’s clear she worried about me. <3 A little too much, I’m afraid. lol.
One of my FAVORITE letters was one I wrote to myself when I was in seventh grade. I guess I used to do that all the time, because I found a lot of letters from Colleen to Colleen.
This is a pic of the letters I wrote to myself. Let’s see what 13 year old Colleen had to say to 13 year old Colleen:
My dearest Colleen,
Hello, Darling. How have you been? Oh, yes. I think I should know. I hope you really have a wonderful time at camp this week. I pray that you, your mother and sisters intelligence pays off soon with that brilliant idea. I and the other will be praying for it. I think y’alls idea is a wonderful idea. You could be millionaires! You are very smart and wonderful and sweet. I could go on forever, but I just don’t have the time for that. You know what I mean, because you are me and me is you. I want you to keep this letter forever and ever and ever. I want you to keep it until the day you or I die. a. That was an accident, typing that “A” right after that sentence, but this is a typewriter and you can’t just erase crap. Get over it. Today is July 11th, 1993. You are in the seventh grade. I hope this will be the best year of your years that have already passed. I know it will be because God put a brilliant idea in that head of your mothers without a hindrance of hesitational thoughts that would behold her of the most etiquette of all mankind. Hold on a minute, your mother needs me to get hangers out of my utmost nearest closet. I just want you to know (by the way, I’m back from getting hangers) that if you ever need a friend that I am here and I am always close by. Really close by. If there is ever a death in the family (as long as it isn’t yours) or you have broken a most heartwrenching vow to a near loved one, I am here and want you to remember that you were once a very happy 13 year old. Hopefully that is part of your present. You have been so great to share this valuable time with yourself. You appreciate it very much. I want you to know that there is someone out there who loves you dearly, and that someone is me. I mean you. We both do. I am one of those many loving, caring and friendly persons. I am having to depart from this typewriter fingering, because my digits are in pain. My hands are truly tired. I will always be there. Right behind you. And in front of you. And beside you. From your dearest self. -Colleen
Yeah. That was the 13 year old me. I also have a story I wrote when I was 12, but I’ll save that for another day.
I’ve been married to my husband since I was 20. We’ve been together since I was 16 years old. When we first moved in together he used to leave me notes every day when he left for work. Here’s a pic of some of them-
What makes me laugh is that I have no idea why I kept them because most of them say, “Pay the phone bill.” “Cash my check.” “Send the house payment.” “Take your pill.” “Don’t forget to take your pill.” “Here’s your birth control pill. Take it.” “Hey. Did you take your pill?”
He was a little concerned about that, me thinks. lol. I think I kept all his letters because they all said, “I love you,” in one form or another. But the one that made me laugh the hardest was one I wrote to him. We weren’t the most romantic people, so I liked to make fun of all things romance. Hence, this sarcastic love note I left him.
I found this note from my cousin. I thought it was cute and since he’s a huge, muscled up military guy now, it made it even funnier.
Remember those notes people passed back and forth in class? Before we could hide cell phones in our pockets? Apparently I got this note from someone, but don’t know who. They said they were bored and asked me to write them a quick poem. This was my response:
Why do you want me to write you a poem? I must really be leaving, must really be going. I have no time to write this letter, some other time would be much better. I wouldn’t write you a poem for a dime. Mostly because I don’t know how to rhyme. You’re so terribly boring, I really am going, you stupid ole hussy I’m not writing your poem.
And I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite find. According to the title of this one, I was practicing my signature for someday in the future for when I was going to be signing autographs for a book. Of course back then I never took into account that I would end up getting married and my name would change, but it’s really pretty damn funny that I knew in junior high what I wanted to be. And still, it took me until I was 31 years old to actually DO it.